The Big Dune

The Big Dune
Big Dune

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Home at Last and Travel Plans

Current Location: Grants Pass, Oregon 30 degrees with icy fog

We are home.  We have been living in our new home for just over a month now.  Time has a funny way of shifting about, and it feels like we have been here forever, and yet it also feels like only a moment.  I still find myself reaching on the wrong side for the toilet paper, or sliding my hand up the wrong wall to find the light switch.  A few days ago I stomped near the base of the toilet to flush it.  Yes, RVr’s will recognize that one.

We spent much time in the Moho parked here on the property from March through September, but we lived pretty much full time there from mid September until November 7th, the date that our furniture arrived from Klamath Falls. We still have the apartments in Klamath Falls, but wanted to be here for the ending details of the build. Finally, after two and a half years of moving around, fixing up places, selling places, moving stuff from one home to another as we made the shifts, all of everything we have is here, in one place.  It feels a bit strange. 

I somehow completely lost time and inclination to blog the building process.  I photographed extensively, and my calendar is jammed with deadlines, appointments, contractor schedules and such.  I will always have the opportunity to go back and look at the progress and the completion, but no way could I even begin to keep up with writing about it as it was happening.

The last six weeks was much different than the first few months.  Instead of big exciting progress, the work moved forward in what often seemed like tiny increments.  All I can say is, if you ever build a home, it is most important to be right there.  I can’t count how many times a knock on the door of the MoHo meant one sub or another needed a small question answered, questions that Gary might not have really known how to answer without speaking with us.  Being 2.5 hours and 130 miles away at the apartment wasn’t really an option.

While some of the details were a bit tedious, there were also big moments that were absolutely thrilling.  The day the granite was delivered and installed was one I won’t forget.  Our choice turned out to be perfect, even more beautiful than we imagined once it was installed.  The perfection of craftsmanship and fit was amazing to us.  I don’t know how they do that!

Seeing the paint colors for the interior and exterior materialize into reality after studying and choosing colors for a year was nerve-wracking.  What if we had picked colors that didn’t work?  We agonized for a few days over the accent color on the upper exterior walls before finally deciding. 

Later, a neighbor asked how I managed to match the bark of the madrone trees with that color.  Huh?  A complete accident, but a lucky one.  We really love our colors.  I thought I was matching the red clay dirt all around the house.  The red was also a nod to the sweet little cottage that stood where this beautiful home is placed.  Once of the best decisions we made was to bring in several loads of decomposed granite to cover the sticky red clay that is on this property.  That clay stained everything in its path, including the sidewalk, and the workers always had special shoes around for working here.  Everyone is very happy that we no longer have to worry about the clay.  We will landscape more next year and add some soil and shrubs, but for now at least it is all nice and clean.

The interior color is Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.  The color is all over Pinterest and HGTV.  I succumbed to current style and was really worried that after all our warm earth tones of years past it might be really hard to get used to “gray”. 

It turned out to be our perfect choice, and all the reviews that say the color goes well with warm and cool, and enhances furniture and floors to perfection isn’t an overstatement.  It never looks the same, and each wall and room somehow glows differently. 

Another exciting and surprisingly stressful time was when the hardwood was installed.  Jared, the incredible artist that does this work is also a guitarist, and we went to see his show last week.  His craftsmanship was amazing to watch, but when I first saw all the dark knots in the wood I was appalled. 

The sample was different, with very few knots.  We basically freaked out, called Gary and the flooring people, and for a few days all was a bit of a kerfuffle.  In the end, we were able to hand pick the best boards and set the rest aside.  Thanks to Lipperts for great customer service.  I am used to the knots now, and feel much like others have said, it gives the floor character.

Vinyl went in with more incredible craftsmanship by Ted, who also installed our carpets.  I am so very grateful for the soft touch of vinyl flooring in the bathrooms and glad we didn’t succumb to the trend to tile everything.  After three months of ceramic tile floors at the Running Y I knew I didn’t want that in my own home.  Too dang hard and cold! 

Painters came and went several times to touch up and repair tiny flaws until I can honestly say that the paint inside and out is very nearly perfect.  Joel, the detail oriented, meticulous wood worker, spent many days perfecting the trims both inside and out.  The best moment came when the three of us, Joel, Mo, and I, figured out how to design the arch across the front porch.  It was our idea, but Joel completed it to perfection.

We had great fun with the cement contractor, who took time to install some of our antique Batchelder tiles in the sidewalk, and even showed us how to press some of our Oregon coast stones into the back step. 

Jared, the wood guy, was also the tile master who installed the Batchelder’s to perfection in the foyer.  Mo and I installed the tiles in front of the fireplace, a reasonably simple job, but we hope to have Jared return next year when we are ready to complete the backsplash in the kitchen with more tiles. It will be a big project that we decided to put on the back burner rather than have it hold up completion of the house.

Cupboards were the biggest hassle, with several frustrating moments.  Paying as much as we did for custom cabinetry meant we expected things to be perfect.  They are now perfect, but it wasn’t without repeated visits by the cupboard guys and lots of intervention by Gary. 

What stands out most during the last few weeks of the build was the dedicated work by the builder, and most of all his foreman, Gary.  We were incredibly lucky to have chosen the builder we did.  Everywhere we look is evidence of the commitment to high quality and paying attention to what we needed and wanted.  Gary was always there to intercede with subcontractors on our behalf to be sure that everything was attended to properly.  Dave and Gary have an employee, Levi, and we aren’t exactly sure of his official title, but Levi was a constant presence.  He handled so many miscellaneous jobs, doing all the little things that needed attention, from digging holes for drains to cleanups day after day, to installing the door knobs and so many other details. 

Gary and Dave Adams went through the house with us on the last day, checking off every single detail, making sure all was perfect.  When Gary handed Mo the keys officially, it was an exciting moment.  On time exactly, November 1, as promised way back in March before the cottage was demolished.  And on budget as well, with no surprises with the final invoice.  I am curious how often people have such a great experience with a contractor.  Ours was superb, thanks to Mo’s great choice of a builder.

After our furniture was delivered, we emptied the motorhome and I spent some time getting her all spiffed up in the inside while Mo spiffed up the outside.  In early November the world was still sunny and warm in the afternoons.  We had stored much of our furniture in the RV shed, and decided to move all our packed boxes from the move into the garage, so we had a full garage, a full RV shed, and a very nice, clean, spare new home to work with.  The beds were set up, the furniture in place, everything we needed was here, so it was not too difficult to work a box at a time, deciding exactly where the contents should be placed and which contents were ready for the Goodwill bin.

The packed shed and garage seemed like an impossible project.  There was so much STUFF.  We had the older furniture from the little cabin at Mo’s home in Rocky Point, the older furniture that we had used in the Cottage, many things that we had stored from my house on Painter Street and moved to Rocky Point and then moved here to the RV shed two years ago.

It was just a matter of doing it, of starting what seemed like an impossible project.  We decided to cram everything we could on one side of the garage, and keep only one car inside.  With that, we hoped that there would be enough room to get the MoHo safely parked inside the RV shed.  It was amazing to watch, to realize that things weren’t as bad as we thought, and last week not only did we get the MoHo back in her big safe building, but we got BOTH cars inside the garage!  I took many boxes to various donation sites, and this week have learned that with a bit of effort and work, many items can be sold through the Facebook Marketplace. 

With our beautiful new home, and all its great angles and windows, there is less room for furniture, and we both have had to let go of a few loved old pieces because there just isn’t room for them.  Both of us want to keep the new house looking like everything in it is put there on purpose.  No jamming stuff somewhere just because we can’t let go of it.  I put things on Craigslist and Facebook, and Facebook by far has been the most successful.  The nice thing about Facebook is that I can look at a buyer’s profile before I let them come anywhere near the house. It has worked incredibly well and we are paring down.

I had no idea I would have time to actually decorate for Christmas, thinking that it would be impossible to get everything moved, settled, unpacked and still decorate.  It hasn’t been a problem at all. Especially with the help of my grandson Matthew, who lives across the street, helping to get lights on the high gables of the house.  The ladders weren’t tall enough so he climbed up to the roof and did it all from there. 

He has also been a big help preparing things to put on Craigslist, and even blew all the leaves off the roof and out of the gutters for us.

Even after only 2 weeks in the house we had Thanksgiving for the family here. Daughter Melody has moved to Eugene with her family, and they came south for the day, just a 2 hour drive.  Daughter Deborah lives just an hour away and with Matthew across the street, they joined us as well.  It was a lovely Thanksgiving with only 9 people.  Perfect for the table of six and three on the new counter.  The “kids” all love the swivel stools so didn’t mind at all being relegated to what amounted to the kid table, even though they aren’t really kids any more ranging from 18 to 34 years old.  LOL

I managed to finish a gift quilt that will go out in the mail this week, dove into my card making supplies to begin making some Christmas cards, and look, I am actually writing a blog!

Mo and I are excited about getting on the road again, and have plans to leave for our desert sojourn sometime in late winter. Just yesterday we decided to take the very long way south, following our old route west to Brookings and traveling south along the coast to Southern California.  We will then hang for a time at Catalina Spa to check out the new remodels and hope that our pools are as wonderful as ever.  I am hoping for some time in Anza Borrego before we go for some white hot nothing on Ogilby Road near Yuma and on to Tucson to visit friends and do some hiking in the Catalina’s.

We also have plans for a week in Cancun, thanks to daughter Deanna’s offer of a week at their timeshare condo on the beach there.  Air miles are a great thing, so it will be a nice vacation for us.  Other plans are in the works, and I think we will return to our old schedule of heading out somewhere in the MoHo at least once a month. It has been two years since we have been able to do that.

One more very exciting bit of travel won’t include Mo.  I am taking my daughter Deanna to Italy for the one mother child trip that I am trying to do for each kid in my old age.  I took Melody to Eastern Europe, Deborah chose the famous Blues Cruise to the Caribbean, and now Deanna and I have chosen Italy.  It is the first trip I will do on my own, doing the planning without a tour group. We will be spending three weeks, mostly in Florence and on the Amalfi coast beginning late September. I have to thank Erin for all her inspiration on that level since she is probably the most accomplished traveler that I know. 

Life is good.  The house is warm and comfy, everything is clean and organized in ways that haven’t been possible for a long time.  Those close to me will know how much I love that part.  Life is beginning to settle down and the routines of everyday living are filling the space with love and beauty.  I am so so so lucky.